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Google has stopped taking orders for its spherical Nexus Q streaming-media player, but customers who have already preordered the device will still be getting theirs, albeit at a much lower price: free.

The Chocolate Factory has decided that it needs to add more functionality to the Android-powered media ball before it releases the hardware to the general public, Wired reports.

In the meantime, preorder customers will still receive their Nexus Q units from Google's existing stock, but the search giant has opted not to charge their credit cards.

In effect, the preorder customers join some 6,000 or so developers who received a free Nexus Q at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco in June.

The customers were notified of the change via an email on Tuesday:

When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.

To thank you for your early interest, we’d like to extend the Nexus Q preview to our pre-order customers and send you a free device. If you had other items in your order, your credit card will be charged for those items only.

This isn't the first time customers shopping for the latest "pure Google" Android devices have been disappointed. In June, the Chocolate Factory was forced to halt sales of the Galaxy Nexus handset over a patent tussle with Apple.

This time, however, voluntarily halting sales of the Nexus Q seems like a prudent move, as many customers who received the preview version of the device have been underwhelmed by its limited feature set. Android hacker Jason Miller went as far as to wipe the device's firmware and install new, open source player software.

Google has not said exactly what features it plans to add to the Nexus Q now that its development team has gone back to the drawing board, but it says the device is still "coming soon." Customers who want to be updated on its status can leave their email addresses at the Nexus Q website. ®

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